For Sale: One Nobel Prize Medal (Slightly Used, By Francis Crick)
It's also worth noting that Francis Crick wished to give Rosalind Franklin greater credit, but didn't due to the personality conflicts between Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin:
Moreover, she became great close friends with Watson and with Crick. But sheâ(TM)s unlikelyâ"if in fact she felt they had stolen her discovery. She must have known that they were using her data because there were no other dataâ"her data are acknowledged in Crickâ(TM)s paper. And again, in the second paper he published in Nature a month later. What prevented Crick from giving a much fairer acknowledgment to Rosalind Franklin in the original Nature paper, which he wished to do, was that he to negotiate this with Wilkins.
So in his original draft is, he says, "We thank Rosalind Franklin for her beautiful uh photo of DNA," which makes quite clear that this was what he was relying on. Now, at Wilkinsâ(TM) suggestion he crossed out the phrase "beautiful photo." So it was not an adequate acknowledgment but it was a very different story than stealing her discovery, which is the way it has been portrayed.
Elkin: Nicholas, you are absolutely right. There was an earlier, more accurate acknowledgment. It wasnâ(TM)t to Franklin, it was to Wilkins and Franklin and it did say "very beautiful photographs" which only meant Franklinâ(TM)s. And Wilkins was the one who crossed it out. There are actually six drafts. Very interesting to see that.
And also to see how weak, false, even the first two or three were, before Wilkins got it to decimate it more compared to the draft they wrote about the first model, where they very very clearly acknowledged Franklin.
NASA: New Mars Rover By 2020
I really hate when people take that "Why build one when you can build two for twice the price" quote from the film adaptation of Contact and try to be clever by quoting it as if it had any bearing on reality. In the real world, the per-unit cost of building multiples of the same thing in parallel costs considerably less than building a one-off.
Google Awarded Face-To-Unlock Patent
A simpler solution is to verify if the image has slightly alterations over time, or to require that the person to blink or do any other thing.
Android 4.1 (Jellybean) has a "liveness check" which requires an eyeblink to unlock:
House Representatives Working On NASA Reform Bill
Although I'm hopeful about the concept, I'm suspicious until the full text of the bill is released. Considering the proponents of the bill, I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being a thinly-veiled way to protect particular pork projects, worded in such a way that it could only be used to keep projects like SLS from being cancelled while being of limited applicability to other NASA projects. After all, after the Falcon Heavy starts launching, locking SLS into a multi-year procurement contract is probably going to be the only way to keep money funneling towards SLS contractors.
Also, from what I've been able to read online so far, NASA (along with the DOD and Coast Guard) already have some multi-year procurement capability, bit can't use it where there's significant technical risk. With NASA technical risk usually means cost-plus contracts, and cost-plus contracts combined with multi-year procurement is potentially very bad, depending on how the bill is worded.
House Representatives Working On NASA Reform Bill
Sometimes NASA needs the flexibility to cancel contracts though, especially when a project goes drastically overbudget or is realized to be a bad investment. If this bill had been passed a few years ago, NASA would quite likely still be wasting a large chunk of its budget trying to get the Ares 1 rocket ready to launch in ~2014.
NASA Splits $1.1B For Three Commercial Spacecraft
Right-wing stupidity is strong today. Must be something in the water supply.
Just to be clear, you do realize that it's predominantly the right-wingers in Congress who've been most opposed to NASA's commercial crew program, and the left-wingers who've been in favor of it?
NASA's Bolden Speaks On Future Mars Mission, Chinese Moon Landing
For anybody who wants to read the actual interview article with Bolden instead of just relying on MarkWhittington's distorted Yahoo summary, you can find the interview here:
12 Dead, 50 Injured at The Dark Knight Rises Showing In Colorado
Really? When was the last time a random crazy killed more than 5 people with something other than a gun?
6th victim, driver in Dutch parade attack die
Details of Chinese Moon Rocket Emerge
The submission and at least one of the linked articles are just silly "OMG CHINA" rabble-rousing in an attempt to justify the diversion of NASA resources from commercial providers like SpaceX towards giant white elephants like the SLS heavy-lift rocket (and the legacy contractors behind it). I've yet to see any evidence that China's supposed plans for a heavy-lift rocket are anything more than sketches from dreamy engineers, without any actual funding behind them; if anything other non-existent heavy-lift rockets like SpaceX's Falcon XX have more progress behind them.
If anything, indications so far suggest that China's space exploration plans involve the more sensible approach of assembling exploration modules in space, instead of building rarely-used mega-rockets that launch everything up at once.
China Plans Manned Space Mission This Month
Yup, the head of the House Appropriations CJS subcommittee in charge of NASA, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va) actually attached a clause to NASA's funding bill last year that explicitly prohibits any NASA collaboration with China. Of course, this was the same Rep. Wolf who raised a media ruckus back in 1995 when he demanded that the Clinton administration investigate claims that human fetuses were being sold in China as a health food.
SpaceX Brownsville Space Port Opposed By Texas Environmentalists
That's some pretty impressive fearmongering on the part of the Environment Texas group, but if you read the actual letter from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department you'll see their supposed "objections" are actually fairly minor concerns and recommendations that they'd like SpaceX to address. If anything they're as concerned or more concerned about litter from the up to 10,000 spectators that might go to see launches than they are about the complex itself.
SpaceX Brownsville Space Port Opposed By Texas Environmentalists
Environment Texas also pointed out the risk the project poses to the south Texas economy. According to a 2011 Texas A&M study, nature tourism generates about $300 million a year in the Rio Grande Valley, created 4,407 full- and part-time jobs and $2.6 million in sales taxes and $7.26 million in hotel taxes. The Rio Grande Valley has been named the number two destination in North America for birdwatching and attracts visitors from all over the world to view almost 500 species of bird.
It isn't apparent from this snippet, but the Rio Grande Valley isn't some tiny valley that will be entirely dominated by SpaceX moving there. The Rio Grande Valley is actually a gigantic area composed of 4 entire counties and over 20,000 square miles. SpaceX is interested in a plot of land on the edge of that valley that occupies much less than a square mile, and will be firing its rockets (powered by oxygen and kerosene) out over the ocean.
Brownsville itself is super excited about SpaceX potentially moving there, and I suspect few if any of the people involved with this "Environment Texas" group actually live in Brownsville.
Scientific Literacy vs. Concern Over Climate Change
Modeling isn't a instrument, its closer to guessing.
"All models are wrong, but some are useful. -- George E. P. Box
ISS Captures SpaceX Dragon Capsule
I thought this comment from Buzz Aldrin was pretty cool:
"This weekâ(TM)s successful launch and delivery of logistics supplies to the International Space Station by a U.S. commercial space company reminds us that where the entrepreneurial interests of the private sector are aligned with NASAâ(TM)s mission to explore, America wins. Falcon 9â(TM)s maiden flight to ISS â" and the other commercial space launches that lie ahead â" represent the dawn of a new era in space exploration. Nearly 43 years after we first walked on the moon, we have taken another step in demonstrating continued American leadership in space."
ISS Captures SpaceX Dragon Capsule
SpaceX intends to replace NASA in the "Moving stuff into space" department, AFAIK. I have never heard that SpaceX has any interest in building and running science probes to Pluto, or gamma ray telescopes or climate monitoring satellites
That said, SpaceX is actually collaborating with NASA Ames to potentially Dragon as a low-cost means of delivering science payloads to Mars:
SpaceX's Falcon 9 Successfully Reaches Orbit
Giant leap toward the future of manned space flight? Did they invent space rockets or space ships?
Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, he just made it cost-effective.
Planetary Resources Confirms Plan To Mine Asteroids
Their first step is to mine water and air and other materials to sell to NASA in orbit..
Actually, from their website, their first step is to create a fleet of assembly-line space-based telescopes, which will start launching in 18-24 months. In addition to scouting for asteroids, the telescopes will be licensed/sold for both astronomical and ground observation for a few million each. Over time they'll be producing incrementally-upgraded versions with the capability to chase down asteroids, survey other locations in the solar system, and eventually perform sample return missions. Even if the company never reaches the point of asteroid mining, their Arkyd series of telescopes/probes looks like a big (and potentially profitable) game-changer for planetary exploration and orbital monitoring.
Asteroid the 'Size of a Minivan' Exploded Over California
Coincidentally, it looks like Planetary Resources (a new company backed by several well-known billionaires) is going to formally announce tomorrow their plans to launch 2-5 orbital telescopes in the next 18-24 months. The primary of the telescopes will be to look for near-Earth asteroids to mine, although this will of course also be useful for detecting potentially-dangerous asteroids. They also plan on selling orbital telescopes at a cost of a few million dollars each, which is cheap enough that you could probably get a decent planetary protection effort going on Kickstarter. ;)
Ph.D Webcomic Gets Adapted Into Feature Film
Jorge actually explained this at our screening's Q/A. They are all actual graduate students. In fact, I am not sure exactly who wasn't a grad student but the vast majority of the film including camera operators, editors, sound etc are all grad students.
Yup, if I recall correctly all of the PhD student characters were actually played by Caltech PhD students, except for the 'Nameless Grad Student' who was played by a Caltech undergrad. I actually had a minor speaking/dancing role in the film myself. :)
SpaceX Is Studying Site For 'Commercial Cape Canaveral' Near Brownsville, Texas
I was pretty surprised by the low number as well, but it's possible that they're currently only planning on doing equatorial and low-inclination launches from there. Polar and high-inclination launches will probably still be from Vandenberg AFB and Cape Canaveral. I suppose it's also potentially easier to get a permit for a lower flight rate for now, and then ask for a separate permit for the increased flight rate at a later date.
Faster and Open Access to Scientific Results
Tim O'Reilly has a post about how the prominent scholarly journal Nature has recently launched an open-access service called Nature Precedings for pre-publication research and presentations. All content is released under a Creative Commons Attribution License, and can be commented and voted on. The service will cover research in biology, chemistry, and earth science, much like arXiv.org does for physics, mathematics, and computer science.
Bigelow Announces $15 Million For Month in Space
Robert Bigelow has announced a price of $15 million for a four-week trip to one of the private space stations Bigelow Aerospace will deploy, with a price of $3 million for an additional four weeks. This drastically undercuts the Russian Space Agency's $25 million price for a week or two on the ISS. Bigelow also stated that interested countries and companies could lease an entire in-orbit research facility for $88 million/year.
'Shadow of the Colossus' Plays Role in Adam Sandler Film
Kotaku has an article on the role the PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus plays in Adam Sandler's new drama film, Reign Over Me. The article discusses how the game paralleled the film's themes, and how the movie may be the first to 'deal with games thematically and intelligently.'
Building Tomorrow's Soldier Today
Wired reports on a glove developed by Stanford researchers Dennis Grahn and Craig Heller which combines a cooling system with a vacuum in order to chill blood vessels and drastically reduce fatigue. Besides the obvious military and athletics applications, the technology is also potentially useful for firefighters, stroke victims, and people with multiple sclerosis. The Wired article also describes a number of other human enhancement projects, many of which were opposed by the President's Council on Bioethics.
Dance Dance Revolution May Help Treat ADHD
(I have some concerns about their methodology, but it's still an interesting story)
Besides the obvious exercise benefits, it seems that the Dance Dance Revolution video game may also help out children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A recent study in which sixth-graders with ADHD played DDR Disney Mix for an hour each week suggests that playing the game improved their focus and attention, although further studies are planned to get a better understanding of how it could help kids out.
Rejected: NASA and Commercial Space Transportation
At a recent talk, Michael Griffin outlined NASA's plans for helping to generate a robust and competitive commercial market in orbital spaceflight. The speech and Q&A transcripts from the talk are available. In a move reminiscent of the US government kickstarting the early airline industry by purchasing airmail services, NASA plans on supplementing government-derived transport by purchasing cargo delivery services to the International Space Station from commercial providers, followed by crew transportation after the systems have proven themselves. Unlike traditional government contracts, sellers wouldn't see a profit before the services are delivered and the emphasis will be on actual performance instead of process and specifications. Aviation Week has some commentary on the announcement.
Rejected: Two New Sci-Fi Novels Released as Free Downloads
Two prominent science fiction authors have released their newest
novels as free downloads (in addition to bookstore physical copies). The first is Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, by Cory Doctorow. This is an unconventional story about an entrepreneur (who happens to be the child of a mountain and a washing machine) who gets involved in a scheme to blanket Toronto with free wireless mesh network, among other things. The second is Accelerando, by Charles Stross, which tells the tale of three generations of the Macx family (beginning with perptually-slashdotted venture altruist Manfred Macx) in the years leading up to and beyond a technological singularity. To help provide more info on certain technical topics from Stross's novel, I've started up a Technical Companion on wikibooks.
Rejected: Video Games Live Concert Tour Starts Wednesday
(another one of my rejected slashdot entries))
Video Games Live, a rather atypical concert event, starts this Wednesday at the Hollywood Bowl. For the concert (mentioned a couple months ago on slashdot), the 105-piece L.A. Philharmonic will be performing over 20 pieces of video game music, including soundtracks from Mario, Zelda, Sonic, Castlevania, Warcraft, and Metal Gear Solid. Flashier aspects include a light-show accompanying Tron music and a full choir singing themes from Halo. It's hoped that the concert will help introduce more people to live orchestral music, as well as raise awareness of the often-ignored qualities of video game soundtracks. The concert is the first leg of an 18-city nationwide tour.
Rejected: Betting on the Future of Commercial Space
Although events such as SpaceShipOne's suborbital spaceflights and the upcoming maiden launch of SpaceX's privately-built Falcon I orbital rocket have resulted in many conflicting predictions about the future of the commercial space market. The Space Review has an article which proposes using information aggregation markets (also known as idea futures or prediction markets) to aggregate the forecasts of professional and armchair experts. These types of markets, where traders essentially 'put their money where their mouth is' and profit from accurate predictions, are arguably the most effective means of predicting future trends and events. Possible securities could include the predicted launch costs, the strength of carbon nanotube cables, and the number of private astronauts in a particular year. With such a system in place, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers would have more reliable information on what to expect from commercial space activities and how to best invest in them.